Although it lost wide receiver Joey Galloway for 4-6 weeks with a left groin tear, Tampa Bay received some good news Wednesday when starting strong safety Dwight Smith (left rib bruise) practiced.
“I’m sore, but that’s what is expected playing in this league,” said Smith. “This is the NFL you are going have bumps and bruises. I guess that’s why they pay us the money they do to come and perform regardless of how you feel.”
Smith is listed as probable for Sunday’s game vs. the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle defensive tackle Rashad Moore (shoulder) and defensive end Chike Okeafor (toe) are listed as probable. Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander (knee), linebacker Solomon Bates (groin) and safety Terreal Bierria (quadriceps) are questionable. Seattle LB Chad Brown (leg) will not play Sunday.
Although Alexander, who rushed for rushed 28 times for 135 yards (4.8 avg.) and scored three touchdowns vs. New Orleans last Sunday, is listed as questionable for the Bucs-Seahawks game, head coach Jon Gruden said his team is preparing as if the dangerous running back will play.
“Yes,” Gruden said when asked if he expected Alexander to play Sunday. “He’s been questionable before and I’m sure he’ll be questionable again. He’s a feature horse in their attack and you’ve got to prepare for him, no question about it.”
BROWN GIVES HIS TAKE ON KEYSHAWN:
Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber wasn’t available for comment Wednesday and head coach Jon Gruden had “no comment” regarding Dallas Cowboys WR Keyshawn Johnson’s controversial remarks made in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
While he didn’t care to comment on those remarks, Bucs WR Tim Brown shared some interesting thoughts on his relationship with Gruden.
“I’ve been in this league a long time and I know for a fact that everybody doesn’t like me,” said Brown. “But Gruden and my relationship with him has always been pretty solid. Whatever he thought about me last year, he thought I could help this football team out this year.
Brown said he has no problems with Johnson, but he’s not sure that those feelings are mutual.
“You’ve got to take (the comments) from the source that it’s coming from,” said Brown. “I don’t have any problems with Keyshawn even though I think he’s had problems with me over the years because I may have criticized him or done something of that nature and he hasn’t necessarily liked that. I don’t have a problem with the man. He earns a living just like I do in this league. If he feels the need to be talking about Tim Brown right now for whatever reason, just spell the name right. We’re both 0-1 right now. Nobody should be talking at this point.”
SIMMS HOPING TO GET ANOTHER SHOT:
Although he had an impressive training camp and preseason, Bucs quarterback Chris Simms found himself inactive for last Sunday’s game vs. the Washington Redskins.
The battle for the backup quarterback job between Simms and Brian Griese was a close one. They each had two opportunities to serve as Brad Johnson’s backup during the preseason.
Griese completed 26 of 42 passes (61.9 percent) for 258 yards and tossed one touchdown in preseason. Simms completed 42 of 61 attempts (68.9 percent) for 432 yards and threw one touchdown and one interception.
According to Simms, Bucs head coach Jon Gruden didn’t explain his decision to have Griese serve as the team’s No. 2 signal caller. However, the second-year quarterback believes that any decision Gruden makes is in the best interest of the football team.
“He didn’t explain his decision really,” said Simms. “We didn’t really talk about it. But like I’ve said before, I trust his decisions. He’s been involved in this game a lot longer than I have. I’m just going with the coach’s decision and getting ready for this week.”
Some seem to believe Gruden went with Griese as the backup since he has significant starting and playing experience in the NFL, whereas Simms has yet to take his first snap in a regular season contest.
“I think that’s logical,” Simms said when asked about that theory. “Brian led the AFC in passing one year and he’s been to the Pro Bowl. He has been in there and has had the experience. As far as what happened during the preseason, I did see some significant time and played pretty well. But it was only preseason, so you usually don’t get the whole variety like you would during the regular season in terms of defenses. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t be ready if I was called on.”
The backup quarterback rotation changed every other week in preseason, so is there a chance it will work that way at some point this season?
“I think anything is possible,” said Simms. “We were kind of rotating every other week during the preseason. I guess we’ll see what happens.”
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to defend their home turf, and with a 0-1 record and the 1-0 Seattle Seahawks invading Raymond James Stadium this Sunday, they need to do it now more than ever before.
“It’s a very, very important game for us, obviously, for a lot of reasons,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “We need to win a game, get back in this NFC South Division race. We got a little help last week from some of our opposition, but we’ve got to find a way to win. We’ve got to play much better football at home. We’ve got to make that the advantage that it’s supposed to be, and to do that we’ve got to come out and start fast. And we’ve got to win the turnover battle. We’ve got to get our crowd into the game where they’re really, really at their best.”
Starting fast at home has been a challenge for the Bucs. In fact, Gruden is 0-2 in home openers as Tampa Bay’s head coach, and his team produced a 3-5 record at Ray-Jay in 2003, which was the Bucs’ worst home record since 1993.
That’s why Gruden and his coaching staff emphasized the importance of winning their eight regular season home games this season during the offseason. To get their point across, Gruden brought his team over the Ray-Jay for a practice during the offseason and according to the players, Gruden’s message came across loud and clear.
“We’ve preached so much about not losing in this stadium, from so many losses that they had last year,” said Bucs rookie wide receiver Michael Clayton. “There is something special in this stadium, something special to our fans, so when you come home, you don’t lose and we really take that seriously. I have heard it come out of Coach Gruden’s mouth a million times ever since I have been here, how many games they lost at home. It’s hard to go to an away game, especially Washington and come out with a victory. You’re not always going to do that. But when a team comes to your home, you have to get those victories. You have to take that seriously and go into it with the attitude that we will not lose and have a great week of preparation.”
Perhaps the Bucs are playing the right team this Sunday. Although they defeated the Saints in New Orleans last Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks produced a 2-6 record on the road last season. That, along with the fact that the Bucs can’t afford to start the season off 0-2, has the Pewter Pirates focused on recording a win this week.
“It’s necessary,” Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice said of getting a win on Sunday. “You don’t want to go 0-2 right off the gate. You don’t want to start messing with your situation when the end comes around. We want to put ourselves in good standing to show that we are a team to beat this year and a team to be respected. We have a lot to accomplish this week a lot in front of us and I think we should do it in a very humbling matter.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Bucs WR Tim Brown on what head coach Jon Gruden’s offense is capable of when it’s clicking:
“I think certainly that what we did with Coach Gruden (in Oakland) was incredible. We went from one of the worst offenses in the league to consistently being one of the best offenses in the league. We weren’t ever spectacular. We were just consistent. We had a lot of 10 and 12 play drives eating up a lot of time on the clock and really helping out the defense. If we could ever get that going on out here with the defense that we have, it would be an incredible situation for us. At the same time we can?t put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We know we have a great defense. We have to play to those strengths, but offensively we just have to do our part and put some points on the board early and give our defense a chance to go out and play.”
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